Western KY Museum faces shutdown

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - The Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts met Friday morning with the city's newly appointed arts council to try and figure out ways to keep the museum open in the short and long term. The economy has hit many people hard and the museum says it's no exception.

Officials say the museum may have to close in thirty days.

"We've faced some very difficult times, challenges in the past," said Dean Stanley, Museum of Fine Arts.  "We've managed to survive here for thirty plus years and this is a difficult, a very, very difficult period of time."

Volunteers on the Cultural Organization Review Panel met with officials from the Museum of Fine Arts for over two hours discussing the museum's finances. The museum says it has operated at a loss for several years and now needs a quarter of a million dollars to stay open.

"This community has valued what the Fine Art Museum has been and continues to be." Stanley said.  "It's unthinkable that we would not have that moving forward. It's unthinkable that our citizens and our children would not have that in years to come."

"It really is something I don't think most people in the community had ever given a second thought to," said committee chairwoman Helen Mountjoy.  "We have in many respects taken our art institutions for granted."

The museum recently cut several employees and also cut its hours to the public.

"We hope there is a knight in shining armor," Stanley said.  "We've appealed to our state and local governments, the city, the county. We've appealed to our corporate entities, we've appealed to private citizens. To sum it all up, we need help from all those sectors."

The museum says it needs $100,000 to make it to the end of the fiscal year July 1st.

The museum says much of its financial troubles stem from a large fire at the museum in 2003.

The arts council hopes to come up with a game plan to save the museum later in April.

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